A Hard Prayer

Praying ManI don’t really consider myself a “prayer warrior”, but I really want to be. I do pray often, but I feel like I’ve got much to learn regarding prayer. I’m still learning to pray about everything and worry about nothing. I want to have a consistent prayer journey with the Lord where I talk with Him throughout the day about every facet of my day and my life. I want to talk with Him during the menial, mundane tasks, like brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom, answering email, texts, etc.…

A healthy prayer life involves a lot of listening as well as talking. I’ve become a better listener with the Lord over the years. I’ve learned to pray with more depth of purpose, since learning to listen to Him. He speaks through silence. He speaks through loud people. He speaks through quiet people. He speaks in the nature. He speaks in the sunrise and sunset. He speaks in the smile of a child. He speaks more ways and in more situations than I could possibly count.

I do recall some prayers that are hard to pray. Jesus prayed a “hard prayer”, the night of His betrayal. He was troubled in spirit, because He knew what was coming. Check this out…

32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mark 14:32-36 NLT)

I don’t always “want” the Lord’s will. I usually want what I want. I can be selfish at the expense of others. I will sometimes complain if I don’t get what I want. I have learned that complaining really means I feel “entitled” to something. I think entitlement is a big issue in our culture today. I feel entitled to things that I really should earn. I often act like; others life should revolve around mine.  It is really hard to pray: “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” I’ve sat beside the bed of a friend as their loved ones prayed this prayer, only to have them die within in hours. I will passionately pray for what I want for hours on end, because I feel like to pray for “His will to be done” might end badly. I can’t always see what He sees. I can just see the here and now. The Lord see there and then – the future. I’m learning that He always know what is best. He always knows exactly what I need. In order for me to grow and mature in my faith, I need to have a child-like trust in Him. I need to pray for His will above mine, every time I pray. That is easier said than done, but I’m trying.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prayer Power

Hands folded in prayer over open russian Holy Bible on black backgroundI have seen first hand the Power of God when I pray. I’ve seen people changed. I’ve seen unbelievable things happen. I must confess though that the farther removed I am from amazing answers to prayer the more skeptical I become. I remember a quote I heard when I was young that said: “Prayer changes nothing.” The implication is that God does the work, and my prayer really didn’t do any of the work. I do strongly disagree with this statement because I believe that PRAYER CHANGES ME! It changes my perspective and my attitude because through prayer I’m trusting in the Lord to help and to move in my situation.

Daniel was a prayer warrior. I love his consistency and his confidence in the Lord. Check this out…

1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom – 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:

‘Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.

9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.

16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. (Daniel 9:1-3;4-5;9-10;16-18;21-23 NIV)

 

I love the sincerity of Daniels prayer and his deep belief that God hears and responds. I also love that the angel said “as soon as you began to pray, a word went out”. The power of prayer is in the fact that the Lord hears and responds. I don’t always agree with His response, but He ALWAYS responds. Prayer is little me calling on the mighty forces of heaven to move and change things here on earth and inside the hearts of others.

I am constantly calling on the power of the Lord to move and shape my heart. I’m praying for the hearts of my family members. I believe in praying about everything including the somewhat insignificant details.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Belief

Hands folded in prayer over open russian Holy Bible on black backgroundI have beliefs about a lot of different topics and ideas. Some things that I believe are not up for debate. Those beliefs have become convictions. Some things I believe are probably not going to happen. For example, I believe the Atlanta Braves will win the World Series this year. I apologize to any avid Braves fans. You see, I want them to win the World Series and if my belief could help them win, then they should win. I get a bit frustrated at sporting events because I usually pick a team that I want to win. Belief is a pretty significant part of my core being. The things I believe in are actually lived out in some form or fashion every day.

Jesus had just come down from a “mountain-top experience” – literally. As He gets near the rest of His disciples, He sees a commotion. Evidently His disciples had tried to cast out an evil spirit of this young boy. The Dad was disappointed because the disciples could not cast out the evil spirit. Check this out…

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. (Mark 9:20-27 NIV)

I have my doubts in the middle of my faith sometimes. I feel like I hear Jesus call me out on my doubts. I believe that there are demons just like there are angels. I can’t see them or always identify them, but I believe they are real. I have prayed some bold prayers and tried really hard not to doubt the Power or the Presence of God. One of my favorite prayers in all the Word of God is found in this passage. It’s a prayer that I’ve prayed along with my bold prayers. “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The same God who challenges me to pray bold prayers will help me overcome my doubt and skepticism. My role is to continue to grow in my ability to trust the Lord. As I have faith experiences where I’ve seen the Power and the Presence of God, my faith gets stronger and my doubt diminishes.  My growing faith honors the Author of my faith.

Pressing On!
Dwayne